Texas Criminal Punishment Levels

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 562-7549

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

Offense Levels in Texas:

Class C Misdemeanors:  Punishable by a fine not to exceed $500:

Traffic offenses

  • Assault by contact
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Theft under $50 (unless theft committed by check)
  • Insufficient funds

Class B Misdemeanors: Fine not to exceed $2,000 and not more than 180 days confinement in county jail:

  • DWI (72 hours minimum jail; 6 days minimum with open container)
  • Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 oz.)
  • Theft over $50 but less than $500
  • Theft by check (over $20 but less than $500)
  • Criminal mischief over $50 but less than $500 (vandalism)
  • Violation of a protective order
  • Indecent exposure
  • Racing on a public road
  • Prostitution

Class A Misdemeanors:  Fine not to exceed $4,000 and not more than 180 days confinement in county jail:

  • DWI (2nd offense) (minimum 72-hours jail)
  • DWI over o.15 BAC
  • Possession of marijuana (between 2 oz. and 4 oz.)
  • Possession of dangerous drugs (usually the possession of legal drugs without a valid prescription)
  • Assault causing bodily injury
  • Theft between $500 and $1,500 (whether by check or otherwise)
  • Criminal mischief over $500 but less than $1,500

State Jail Felonies:  Fine not to exceed $10,000 and confinement in state jail institution for no less than 180 days and no more than 2 years.

  • Possession of controlled substance less than 1 gram (typically methamphetamine, cocaine or heroin)
  • Credit card abuse (using another person’s credit card without authorization)
  • Third theft conviction of any amount
  • Theft between $1,500 and $20,000
  • Forgery
  • DWI with a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle

Third Degree Felonies:  Fine not to exceed $10,000 and confinement in Texas Department of Corrections for no less than 2 years and no more than 10 years.

  • Possession of controlled substance between 1 and 4 grams;
  • Aggravated assault
  • Assault causing bodily injury (enhanced from prior finding of family violence)
  • Burglary of a building
  • Theft between $20,000 and $100,000
  • DWI (3rd offense)
  • Indecency with a child (by exposure)
  • Solicitation of a minor

Second Degree Felonies: Fine not to exceed $10,000 and confinement in Texas Department of Corrections for no less than 2 years and no more than 20 years:

  • Possession of a controlled substance over 4 grams but less than 200 grams
  • Burglary of a building
  • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
  • Theft between $100,000 and $200,000
  • Indecency with a child (by contact)
  • Injury to a child
  • Attempted murder
  • Intoxicated manslaughter

First Degree Felony:  Fine not to exceed $10,000 and confinement in Texas Department of Corrections for no less than 5 years and no more than 99 years.

  • Murder
  • Possession of a controlled substance over 200 grams
  • Possession of a controlled substance between 4 and 200 grams with intent to distribute
  • Arson
  • Aggravated sexual assault of a child
  • Theft over $200,000

It should be understood that though many of these offenses carry mandatory minimum jail sentences, virtually every offense other than Murder has provisions whereby sentence may be probated or suspended for community supervision (probation).

Other points:

There are some offenses referred to as “hybrid” offenses which mean they can straddle boundaries of punishment — but for the most part the levels remain fairly consistent.  Some offenses like Driving While Intoxicated raise the minimum punishment level but are still considered to be in that general category.

Also many offenses are subject to what are known as enhancements.  Enhancements are other surrounding factors that can enhance — or increase the base punishment level for certain offenses.  The enhancement can be for something surrounding the transaction (like possession of drugs in a drug free zone), or as is often the case because of prior criminal history.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any specific issue you should consult an attorney directly

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

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